Adam Montgomery found guilty of daughter Harmony’s 2019 murder

Adam Montgomery has been found guilty of murdering his five-year-old daughter Harmony during a fit of rage after the little girl soiled herself.

Jurors in Montgomery’s three-week trial in Manchester, New Hampshire, heard testimony from more than two dozen witnesses before the prosecution and the defence delivered closing arguments on Wednesday morning.

Montgomery, 34, was found guilty on a second-degree charge in connection with Harmony’s death in December 2019. Earlier in the trial, Montgomery had conceded on two lesser charges of abuse of a corpse and falsifying information.

Shortly after 1pm on Thursday after nearly seven hours of deliberation, Judge Amy Messer announced that a verdict had been reached. Harmony’s mother Crystal Sorey, and her foster parents Michelle and Timothy Raftery were in the courtroom when Judge Messer read the guilty verdict. Montgomery himself only attended the first day of jury selection and did not return to the courtroom for the remainder of the proceedings.

After the verdict was read Ms Sorey remarked on Montgomery’s absence: “He’s a coward.” She said, “I hope he never falls asleep without seeing her beautiful face” and that he will constantly replay this verdict in his mind.

She added that it’s “all about control” for him and that Harmony “wasn’t anything to him.”

When asked if justice had been served for Harmony, Ms Sorey said, “We’re almost there.” She said the police and the family continue to look for the little girl’s body.

The defence rested their case without calling any witnesses, but told jurors to take testimony from Montgomery’s estranged wife Kayla Montgomery with a grain of salt. Attorney Caroline Smith said that, while his client “did horrible things” to conceal Harmony’s body, he did not kill his daughter.

Earlier this week, Judge Amy Messer denied a motion by the defence to toss Kayla’s testimony alleging Montgomery hit Harmony in the head after he became enraged because the little girl had wet herself.

“Adam did some very very bad things but he did not kill his daughter,” Ms Smith told jurors. “Can you put your trust for one of the most important decisions of your life, in Kayla?” Ms Smith asked jurors. “The police know that she is a liar, the state knows that she is a liar. She was charged with perjury for lying to a grand jury.”

Meanwhile, prosecutor Ben Agati warned jurors “not to be fooled” by Montgomery’s partial admission.

“Let’s quote people accurately,” Mr Agati said, referencing Ms Attorney’s closing arguments. “‘I f***ed up.’ His language, that he used … the night that he disappeared Harmony’s body to wherever place it is now, where he knows. His words, ‘I f***ed up.’ Not she, not we, not Kayla. ‘I’. Singular, personal, solo.”

Mr Agati argued that Montgomery had only conceded on two charges because he thought jurors would then “let the murder charge slide.”

“He admits what he can’t deny. He denies what he can’t afford to admit,” the prosecutor told the court.

He continued: “And the other parts of her body. Her torso, her face, her eyes, that smile … only the defendant, as we sit and stand here today, knows where they are. And he can’t afford to say where they are, because the evidence contained on them will show that he caused her death, so she won’t get the burial that she deserves.”

Adam Montgomery pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in 2022 and proclaimed in court last year in an unrelated case that he did not kill his daughter. As his trial got underway in Manchester, his attorneys acknowledged he was guilty of two lesser charges of falsifying evidence and abusing a corpse.

The defence argued, however, that he did not kill Harmony, and instead suggested she actually died while alone with her stepmother.

Montgomery, who is serving a 30-year prison sentence for an unrelated gun conviction, hasn’t been attending his trial.

Montgomery and Harmony’s mother were not in a relationship when Harmony was born in 2014. The child lived on and off with foster families and with her mother. Ms Sorey lost custody of Harmony in 2018, and Harmony was sent to live with her father in February 2019.

Ms Sorey testified that she last saw her daughter during a FaceTime call around Easter of that year.

Kayla Montgomery has been the star witness against her estranged husband. She is serving an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to perjury for lying during grand jury testimony about where she was when Harmony was last seen. She was not given immunity, but she acknowledged to defence lawyers that she hasn’t faced further consequences for inconsistencies in her various statements to police or prosecutors.

Kayla testified that her husband repeatedly punched Harmony in the head because the girl had wet herself. She said her family, including the couple’s two young sons, had been evicted and were living in a car at the time. According to Kayla, Adam punched Harmony at several stop lights as they drove from a methadone clinic to a fast food restaurant on the morning of 7 December 2019.

She also testified about handing food to the children without checking on Harmony, the subsequent discovery that the girl was dead, and all the places she said her husband hid the body, including in a ceiling vent at a homeless shelter and the walk-in freezer at her husband’s workplace.

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